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How to Help Your Kid Adjust to a New School

Lynden Carnahan,  Sr. Mortgage Advisor

September 12, 2022 — 6 min read

From meeting teachers to figuring out classes, it can be tough for kids to adjust to a new school, especially if they're new to the neighborhood. If you're a parent or guardian, it's your job to ensure this transition is as easy as possible. Fortunately, from creating a school morning routine to hosting a kids playdate, there are easy ways for your child to make friends at school and thrive.

How Do I Help My Kid Adjust to a New School?

If you want to help your child adjust to a new school, it's important to remember that it's not going to be a cakewalk, but it won't be a disaster either, especially if you take the right steps. Start with something tangible: creating a school morning routine.

Create a school morning routine

No one likes rushing around, so why not give your kid a jump start? Ask them to take a bath or shower and set their school clothes out the night before school. From there, try to make every school day as predictable as possible by following the same schedule before and after school hours. Once complete, your kid's school morning routine might look something like this: get up, eat breakfast, brush teeth, brush hair, pack school bag, hug and kiss goodbye. If your child is a visual learner, click here to view and/or download our School Morning Routine (PDF) template. If your child is ready ahead of time, spend those extra moments reading, chatting, or doing some other fun activity together. Your child might be exhausted after school, so it may be a good idea to ask them to also complete their chores the night before.

Give your kid control over their new environment

Having little to no control is one of the hardest parts of being a kid; however, if left unaddressed, your child's feeling of having no control can turn into bigger issues. Combat these emotions by giving your child a chance to control some aspects of the process. If there is a choice of which school to attend, encourage your child to tour the buildings and decide for themselves. If there's only one school, give them control in other ways, like letting them choose their backpack and school supplies, or select their outfit for the day.

Make family time a priority

Home, even if it's new, is a haven from all of the new people and unfamiliar situations your child encounters at school. It's where their loved ones and all their stuff reside. These are two big pieces of their former life, which they probably miss. Make spending time together a priority, even if it's just chatting before bedtime. You should also try to keep up routines that help your child feel safe. If they have siblings, encourage them to talk to each other about how they're doing. To truly help your child adjust to a new school, it's incredibly important for them to know they have a strong support system to fall back on at home.
Related: How to Bring Positive Energy to a New Home

How Do I Help My Kid Make Friends at School?

Sign up for extracurricular activities

When school gets out for the day, what does your child enjoy doing? One way to help your kid make friends at school is to encourage them to experiment with sports or explore their creative side through art, writing, or theater. Popular after-school activities include:
  • Joining a sports team or local league--this is the perfect activity if your child is competitive and/or has a lot of excess energy. It will help teach them the importance of teamwork, discipline, and establish good exercise habits.
  • Creative art or music classes--if your kid loves to draw on walls or play drums on your pots, it may be time to channel their creativity. Creative art or music classes can help develop their imagination, teach them about composition and structure, and learn how to express their feelings.
  • Coding or computer classes--this option is perfect for kids who show technological prowess. Not only will this equip them with skills for a future career, but it will also help them learn how to use critical thinking to solve problems.
Regardless of age, it is easier to bond with someone if you share a passion or interest. In addition, these activities may serve as an outlet and lead to an improvement in your child's grades and behavior, which could help them adjust to a new school, according to experts.

Schedule a kids' playdate

Planning a playdate doesn't have to be complicated; in fact, depending on your child's age, they may want to arrange it themselves. Spending time with their peers is an important step in your child's social development, and in addition to helping them adjust to a new school, a kids playdate will also show them how to share and communicate with others. When your child arrives home from school each day, is there a name they tend to mention over and over again? See if they're interested in having that person come over to visit, or if not, ask their teacher for suggestions. Before asking another parent or guardian about a kids playdate, make sure that you're able to answer to the following questions:
  • Who will be supervising the playdate?
  • What activities will the kids participate in?
  • Will there be older siblings or other adults present?
  • Do you have any pets that will be at the playdate?
  • Will there be a pool or trampoline on the property?
If it's your first kids playdate, host it somewhere familiar and invite just one friend to ensure no one feels left out. If possible, limit the playdate to a few hours. Be available to help your child and their playmate get out toys and set up games, but once the playdate is underway, back off some, but stay close in case of an emergency. It's important to give them a sense of independence.
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Check-in with school staff members

Your kid's teacher and principal get to see your child in a different environment than you do. Trust their expertise and check in with them regularly to ensure you're doing everything you can to help them adjust to a new school. School staff members may know of another child who is new, or if your child is struggling, they may be able to help, like assigning them a specific partner for a school project.

What If I Have More Questions?

Settling into a new home is a challenge for all ages. If you have questions about your homebuying journey, reach out to your local Mortgage Advisor today to find the best option for your family.
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